gastronomic colonies what the potato was to 19th-century Ireland.

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moonlike

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Hi
I can't get what the verb is in the following sentence and also I don't get the meaning. I really appreciate your help.

The Big Mac, and its rivals, are now to America and its gastronomic colonies what the potato was to 19th-century Ireland.

Thanks a lot.
 

MikeNewYork

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I am not sure what the writer meant by gastronomic colonies, but my guess is it refers to anyone in any country who eats like an American. In this sense America colonized them with its marketing and offerings. In 19th century Ireland the potato was a staple, a food eaten every day or almost every day. The author sees this as being true about fast food in America.
 

SoothingDave

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They probably are also meaning to invoke the blight as well.
 

Tdol

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I interpret it the same way as SoothingDave- it sounds as if there's a risk from the over-dependence that might create problems. It's a staple, but one that may be a problem. I guess that the person regards the American diet, or the fast food part of it, as a colonial threat that occupies native cuisine. The whole passage is negative- the nutritional event that marked 19th century Ireland was the Great Famine, also known as the Irish Potato Famine.

It's a Guardian article, so it's not going to be positive about burgers: http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,393160,00.html
 
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MikeNewYork

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I agree that the sentence was critical of fast food and of the colonization.
 

moonlike

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Thanks for the help, especially thanks Tdol for the article. I really didn't know about that. But does.....to America, here mean 'in America'?
Also has anything been removed from the sentence? Was the original sentence like this?

The Big Mac and its rivals are now to (in) America and its gastronomic colonies (are like) what the potato was to 19th-century Ireland.

Thanks a lot.
 

BobK

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:up: Generally 'A is to B as C is to D' means that the relations between A and B are similar to those between C and D; e.g. 'Apples are to apple-trees are as peaches are to peach-trees' - that's a pretty trivial (nay, useless) sentence, but it works as an example.

b
 
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